OVER 3.5 million comics will be given away free this Saturday ( May 5th), to mark Free Comic Book Day. The global event, now in its eleventh year is celebrated across the globe on the first Saturday in May. This year, two Belfast retailers will also be taking part.
Forbidden Planet on Ann Street in Belfast and online retailer, Disposable Heroes, will be offering customers the chance to get their hands on comics created by publishing heavyweights, free of charge.
Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment and Marvel are among the many sponsors of the annual event. Each will be creating special titles and re-releasing old classics to mark the occasion.
The idea behind the event was to give readers the opportunity to learn about great comic books and the pop-culture merchandise that can be found at their local comic book shops. Hopefully they’ll walk away with the free comics and keep coming back for more.
Leslie Bowser, the spokesperson for FCBD said: “Free Comic Book Day is a perfect occasion for customers to discover comic books.”
From The Avengers, Spiderman, Transformers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, their will be a wide selection of comics available especially on the day. Catering for all ages and reader’s various tastes.
Chris Reeves, the assistant manager at Forbidden Planet said: “The event is a great way to introduce readers, young and old to comics.”
He added: “Its’ also a great way to reintroduce older readers back into reading comics again.”
Chris said the event had become a well-known and popular calendar date each year. Comic book fans will be eager to see what Marvel and DC comics have released specifically for the event.
The Belfast store expects to give away roughly 1,000 free comics, with around 20 different titles available free of charge on the day.
Online retailer, Disposable Heroes, will also be taking part, with viewers able to view and order comics on the day from their website, disposableheroes.
The online stores owner, local man Darren McRoberts, admitted that although the event was a bigger occasion in America. He felt it was important that comic book readers here in Northern Ireland also got the opportunity to participate.
He said: “The event was not established to make money, but to regenerate a dying format.” Darren went on to explain that FCBD was originally setup in the early 2000’s to rejuvenate comic book sales that had hit rock bottom.
But he believed the annual event along with the recent number of superhero feature films released by Hollywood studios, such as the Avengers and Iron Man, had led to a significant increase in interest in comics. At present, he said: “Things couldn’t be better.”
Darren started out selling comics four years ago on Ebay, before launching a dedicated online store in 2011. He felt comics were a great way to increase children’s interest in literature and a great aid for parents, in teaching children, the fundamental basics of reading.
He closed the interview by saying, while some might sneer at the idea and consider comics too geeky to be taken seriously. The rise of popular TV shows such as, The Big Bang Theory meant, in his opinion: ‘Right now it’s pretty cool to be geeky.’